by Kevin Caruso
October 11, 2005
The beating of Robert Davis, a 64-year-old African-American male, by white New Orleans police officers has resulted in charges against the officers.
Davis, a retired school teacher, was in the French Quarter Saturday night and asked a police officer on horseback about the city’s curfew, and then, according to Davis’ defense attorney, Joseph Bruno, a second officer approached and “said some ugly things to my client. And my client said, ‘I think that's unprofessional.’”
Davis then walked across the street, Bruno said, and was struck from behind by one of the officers.
Davis was then assaulted by the officers, which included punching Davis, pushing him to the ground, and placing him in a headlock.
The incident was captured both on video and in photographs by members of the press.
One of the videos also captured an officer pushing an AP television news producer at the scene up against a car. The officer said to the producer, among other things: “I've been here for six weeks trying to keep myself alive. ... Go home.”
The three officers involved in the assault were suspended from duty without pay, and were charged with batter. The officers pleaded not guilty.
Davis is facing several charges, including public intoxication, battery on a police officer, and resisting arrest.
Bruno said that Davis was not drunk and did not even have a drink on that day. “[The Police] had the opportunity to take blood or do a breathalyzer if it were a serious allegation,” Bruno said. “They chose not to do this.”
Bruno also said they would probably file a civil suit, but under the “best” scenario his client would “break even” due to the limited nature of punitive damages under Louisiana law.